From Spring Festival to Lantern Festival — Why Are Christians' WeChats Being "Invaded" by "Chicken Soup" Articles?

By CCD contributor: Jireh Yan, February 21, 2019 09:02 AM

The Lantern Festival

The Spring Festival season has come to an end and in reviewing the holidays, a phenomenon has caught our attention. As mobile phones have become a household device, people usually send their blessings or red packet money via a mobile App known as WeChat.

During the holiday season, many Christians utilize WeChat to send messages of blessings. Consequently, some so-called Christian WeChat platforms realized this opportunity and sent, beginning from Chinese New Year’s Eve for the next 15 days, many links related to Chinese New Year. These links were then repeatedly sent on in various Christian WeChat groups by sub-accounts. In addition to being further forwarded by unknowing Christians, the article links were seen everywhere on WeChat during those few days and they felt 'intrusive'.

The following links which appeared during the holidays were collected and are grouped under four headings. What characteristics do they have based on their titles?

Group 1: Using the popularity of the holiday to send daily "blessings".

Here are some titles:

"New Year's Eve Now! The Earliest, Loveliest, Heavenly Blessing to You! Happy New Spring!"

"A Sensational Hymn Performance by a Christian at the New Year's Gala!"

Group 2: Purely marketing of something. (It is however not clear by reading the titles alone what that something is, yet it is appealing to the readers' curiosity.)

Here are some titles:

'@Family in the Lord, please forward this song so that your family will be blessed!'

'@All families in the Lord, this sermon is a must and you and your family will be blessed!'

Group 3: Using the popularity of Chinese Valentine's Day.  (An empty slogan is used without appearing to have much content however.)

Here is a title:

'A Sincere Greeting today to All with Love. God loves you. Immanuel!'

Group 4: Bringing out 'old articles'. (Some resources are unknown and may be fake)

These re-enter the 'release' of the most frequent titled articles now having a rumour such as "CCTV Host to Give a Sermon" or "The Gospel Presented on CCTV!".

The above four groups of "chicken soup" type titles are all from the lesser Christian public accounts "In the Lord". Basically, such accounts have no original writings neither produce high-quality articles. Articles are posted online and promotional headlines are added to make up for inferior writing. Some readings are attached with a QR code at the bottom requiring financial support by claiming their volunteers have no "income" from their "gospel ministry".

If such chicken soup articles of "blessing" are garbage, then their "soup" is simply "poisonous", specifically by inventing untrue information to propagate ideas or products in the name of Christianity, taking the season of the Spring Festival to do marketing and sales.

Such articles mention four significant Christian happenings: the cross appears in the sky; the president leads the whole nation to repent; the gospel is on CCTV; and CCTV hosts the giving of a sermon.

These four "significant" Christian happenings already have "taken place" years ago (the quotation marks indicate that they are invented stories), but this fraud has transplanted old tricks into the Spring Festival to give 'old news' a ‘new face’ so that they appear to be new and authentic.

Their intentions are obviously to make money by swindling people into making donations and keeping the money flowing.

We must deal with such an issue, one that combines worldly information and Christian teachings and is well-marketed and very popular with a high number of online hits. Believers often comment with an "Amen", "Thank the Lord" or "Hallelujah". This is why this type of fraud can be carried on so successfully.

From a money perspective, those who do this are able to come up with "garbage and poisonous chicken soup" because they target what many Christians seem to what and in the process make money from it.

This type of activity has no basis from a humanistic standpoint, let alone any kind of biblical warrant. Such readings require no thought or reason. The common characteristics of Christians who fall for such activity is an unwillingness to think or an inability to know what the Bible says about such matters. As Scripture says,  'Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.' (Ephesians 4:14)

Why such phenomenon has happened and why Christians have come to love this type of "soup" is perhaps also due to the pietism of the traditional Chinese church and its anti-intellectual culture.

- Translated by Charlie Li

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